Last night, shortly after hearing about the Obama victory, I listened to John McCain's concession speech, where the old, independent McCain re-emerged from under the murk of campaign rhetoric. As I listened to him speak, I was reminded of a McCain who would have made a much better president than George Bush, had he been elected in 2000.
But in 2008, he never stood much of a chance of being elected. Putting aside the obvious reason that Obama was simply the better candidate with a better run campaign, I thought of several other reasons which contributed to doom the McCain campaign.
1. George Bush
Arguably the worst and least popular president the United States has ever had, McCain was handicapped from the very start by having to drag around the millstone of guilt by association with Bush. This factor would have hampered the campaign of any Republican candidate, however, not just McCain. Rightly or wrongly, McCain was dubbed "McSame" by a population weary of eight years of inept Republican leadership and who were ready for a major change.
2. Karl Rove
As another blogger said, nasty isn't nice. The dirty campaign he ran that obscured the real McCain, who was relatively moderate and known for reaching across the aisle to work in a bi-partisan manner, backfired on McCain.
3. Sarah Palin
The unfortunate pick of the grossly underqualified and bizarre Sarah Palin was the final straw for many voters, who might otherwise would have voted for McCain. She was chosen to appease a Religious Right that was clearly unenthusiastic about McCain, who was never one of them. The discomfort many people had with the idea of her possibly becoming president should McCain become disabled, was yet another nail in the coffin of the McCain campaign,
4. McCain's age
Directly related to the reason above, compared to the young, vital, and forward looking Barack Obama, McCain came off as old, tired, and mired in the past. Coupled with an extremist, unqualified, loose cannon running mate, McCain's age was a major concern to many voters. He might have been able to mitigate this factor somewhat had he chosen a qualified and experienced running mate with a broader appeal, however. Nevertheless, it was obvious to many that McCain's time had passed and it was time to look forward with a new generation.
There are many other reasons why McCain lost the election, but these four coupled with the obvious reason of Obama simply being an outstanding candidate, were the ones that most quickly came to mind.Thoughts?